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Blood Donor Shortage Postpones 8-Year-Old’s Heart Surgery At Boston Children’s Hospital

By Lauren Leamanczyk, WBZ-TV
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BOSTON (CBS) – The Rogers family woke up Friday morning in a hotel near Boston Children’s Hospital. They had been preparing for this day for months; 8-year-old Jacqueline was scheduled for open heart surgery.

Her mom Valerie Rogers says they were walking out the door to head to the hospital when they received a phone call.

“We got a call saying that there wasn’t enough type O negative blood to do her surgery today,” Valerie said.

Jacqueline, a bubbly and brave 3rd grader who was born with a congenital heart disorder, had already been nervous and scared about her operation. Now she had a different fear.

“I was scared because I thought they were not going to do it ever,” she said.

The family understood why the surgery had to be postponed. It’s not safe to perform an operation without enough of the right type blood. They have faith in Children’s Hospital. The problem, they realized, is that there are not enough donors.

Children’s Hospital acknowledged that was the case in a statement released Friday.

“Boston Children’s Hospital is experiencing a shortage of O negative blood and is in the process of replenishing its supply. The hospital has taken precautionary measures to ensure the care and safety of our patients,” the statement said.

The Red Cross reports the shortage of O negative blood is being seen on a national level. It is the most in-demand blood type because it can be donated to anyone. Combined with the bad winter weather that forced the cancellation of hundreds of blood drives, and hospitals all over the country are running low on supply.

As soon as their daughter’s surgery was cancelled, the Rogers’ friends sprang into action. Laurie Parker and Kelly McCarthy, fellow Billerica moms, drove to Children’s to donate blood. Others spread the word through social media.

“People I didn’t even know were posting and praying and going to donate blood today,” Valerie said.

Jacqueline’s operation has been re-scheduled for Wednesday. The family was told to call ahead to make sure there is enough blood.

Meanwhile they hope Jacqueline’s story inspires others to roll up their sleeve.

Online: Boston Children’s Hospital Donor Center

Online: Red Cross Blood Donor Centers

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